State appeals lower court unconstitutional ruling on chief judges selection

TOPEKA, Kan. – The State of Kansas has appealed a Shawnee District Court judge’s decision that declared unconstitutional part of a Kansas law that changes how chief judges across the state are selected.

Judge Larry Hendricks of Shawnee County in September struck down the change in the law as unconstitutional because it violates the state constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.

Hendricks said the legislature’s change in the law that takes away the Kansas Supreme Court’s power to select chief judges in each Kansas judicial district and gives it to to individual judges in the judicial districts runs contrary to the Kansas Constitution.

The state contends there’s no attack on judicial independence.

But lawmakers tied the court system’s budget to preserving the policy change.

The Supreme Court has given both sides until November 25th to file briefs in the case. Arguments will be heard on December 10th.

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